After 10 years of un-challenged rule, Congress stares at defeat. Defeat in politics is a certainty for everyone . The British politician Enoch Powell famously said “All politics ends in failure unless they are cut off midstream at a happy juncture, because that is the nature of politics and life “. There is a lesson for Rahul Gandhi in this statement. Whatever excuses are made for Congress and Rahul Gandhi, blame is at his door. Along with Enoch Powell, Rahul Gandhi should also remember that the American president John Kennedy said “Victory has many fathers and defeat is an orphan”.
The mistakes started right after 2009 victory of the Congress party where it secured 204 MPs and formed the second UPA government . The 2009 electoral victory was so easy that they all felt that they had found the mantra for “eternal power “. The Gandhis felt that to counter un-popularity, the Congress must use propaganda and field rich celebrity candidates like actors, sportsmen and very rich people or successful people. In 2014, Congress fielded at least 25 candidates like Nandan Nilekani, cricketers Mohammed Azharuddin and Mohd. Kaif, Socialite Shashi Tharoor, actors like Nagma or billionaires like Naveen Jindal. . The Gandhis felt that such celebrities are useful for one election and they can fool people. No need to talk about inflation, corruption and scandals and scams.
a. The Gandhis felt they got the victory of 2009. Manmohan Singh felt he secured the victory. They might have shared that victory. But Gandhis refused to give anyone credit. This led to sycophantic Congressmen saying that Rahul Gandhi must become the Prime minister and replace Manmohan Singh. Though Manmohan Singh never said anything openly, he felt insulted, as it showed him to be powerless though he was Prime minister. The feeling that Rahul might replace Manmohan Singh created a bad image amongst the middle classes and also made Manmohan Singh disinterested in government. There was a government but no governance.
b. Sonia Gandhi felt that populism will win elections and directed Manmohan Singh to allot lakhs of crores for wasteful schemes. There was waste and this led to inflation and economic disaster. She constituted the National Advisory Council which would assist her in making schemes to give away money. Eventually, since 2009 this kind of populism let loose the fiercest inflation in India since 2009 and made price rise a major factor in hatred for the Congress. Sonia Gandhi refused to listen to Manmohan Singh or anyone.
c. Narendra Modi somehow instilled a great fear in the Gandhi family. From 2003, Sonia Gandhi started repeatedly attacking Narendra Modi and called him a “Merchant of death”. She launched many enquiries against him and tried to get the CBI and courts to arrest him for the Gujarat riots. The continuous abuse and insults to Narendra Modi made him a hero to all others. Had Sonia a Gandhi left him alone, Narendra Modi would have been only Chief Minister of Gujarat and not become the giant figure in India. This was a big mistake .
We must remember about the most noted Indian scholar M.N. Srinivas and his theory of “Sanskritisation”. Nearly 50 years ago, M.S. Srinivas used a term “Sanskritisation”, which meant that as people improve their economic status, they become “Sanskritised” and adopt all the values of other classes and castes. In Western countries, instead of “Sanskritisation”,they say “gentrification or modernization”.
In the last 50 years, more and more Indians are moving beyond caste. The poorest OBCs, Dalits and even Minorities have moved to middle classes and now have the same ambitions as other middle classes. That is why Ram Vilas Paswan , a big Dalit leader, crossed over to Narendra Modi after 12 years of abusing him.
Many Minority scholars realized that polarization will hurt them and knew politicians were trying to get votes by creating fear. But they were helpless. The Minorities have a right to safety , equal development and respect like all citizens. People want equal development for all. The other sad result is that a political party can win elections in India without the Minority vote. Politicians like Mayavathi and Mulayam Singh know that if they pamper only one caste, then all the other castes rebel against them. That is why in North India every politician tries to avoid being a caste leader now.
If Congress did not start attacking Narendra Modi since 2003 and tried to create a Minority vote-bank, no one would have known Modi. If Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister, he should avoid imitating such vote bank politics and bring people together and create confidence in Minorities. Do good for the country and talk less.
Within a few months , we will know whether Modi can deliver or he will falter.